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Ed Orgeron to Falcons? The Coach Ryan Nielsen Atlanta Connection: NFL Tracker

Follow along with Falcon Report as we keep you up to date with all firings, hirings, and breaking news in the NFL

JAN 28 ED O TO ATL? 

Ed Orgeron is a Ryan Nielsen guy, and vice versa. So now that Nielsen has been lured from the Saints to be the new defensive coordinator in Atlanta, it’s not much of a leap to suggest he’d want to hire the former LSU national-champ coach. Orgeron and Nielsen have a deep connection. Nielsen played for Coach O at USC and coached on Orgeron’s staff at Ole Miss. Orgeron once tried to bring Nielsen from the Saints to LSU. And now that Nielsen is here? Logic says the new coordinator might try to return the favor.

JAN 27 FALCONS HIRE DC; PART WAYS WITH 3 ASSISTANTS

The Atlanta Falcons hired defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen Friday evening, officially allowing him to take over for Dean Pees.

With the addition of Nielsen, the Falcons' defensive staff will undergo several changes.

According to ESPN, the team is letting go of defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

JAN 19 FALCONS COMPLETE INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN FLORES

The Atlanta Falcons are in the midst of a search process for their next defensive coordinator after Dean Pees retired. 

The Falcons completed their interview with former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. After being fired by the Dolphins following the 2021 season, he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff as the linebackers coach. 

Flores finished 24-25 after two seasons as the head coach of the Dolphins.

JAN 19 INTERNATIONAL GAMES ANNOUNCED FOR 2023

The NFL announced that the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will each play international games during the 2023 regular season.

The Bills and the Titans will each play a game at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jaguars will also being playing in the UK. And the 2023 season will also see the Chiefs and Patriots both play regular-season games in Germany.

The Falcons are eligible to play the Titans or Jaguars, as Atlanta plays them on the road next season. It would be the Falcons' second trip to London in three years after beating the New York Jets in 2021.

JAN 16 TOM BRADY, BUCCANEERS ELIMINATED BY COWBOYS

The NFC South is no longer represented in the playoffs after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Dallas Cowboys 31-14 Monday night at Raymond James Stadium.

With the loss, Tom Brady's season comes to an end as he faces free agency in the spring. The Buccaneers may not re-sign him, which could spell the end of him facing the Atlanta Falcons twice a season.

The Cowboys play the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday in the Divisional Round.

JAN 15 FALCONS ASSISTANT COACH TAKES COLLEGE JOB

Atlanta Falcons offensive assistant Nick Edwards has accepted the job offer to become the Washington State Cougars' receivers coach, according to The Athletic.

Edwards joined the Falcons in March of 2022 after being the offensive coordinator at Cal Poly. Prior to that, he was the receivers coach at Eastern Washington, working with NFL wideouts Cooper Kupp and Kendrick Bourne, among others, before making a stop at the University of California-Berkeley.

Now, Edwards is back to the college ranks - and the Falcons appear to have another job to fill.

JAN 14 WILD CARD SATURDAY BRINGS DRAMA

The beginning of the NFL playoffs kicked off with a bang Saturday.

After the San Francisco 49ers came back from trailing at halftime to win by three scores, the Jacksonville Jaguars managed a 27-point comeback (third-largest in NFL history) to beat the Los Angeles Chargers at home. Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun had a game-high 13 tackles.

The 49ers will host the highest-remaining NFC playoff team, while the Jaguars await their opponent based off tomorrow's results.

JAN 9 FALCONS NAME NEW PRESIDENT 

There's a new president in the building!

According to NFL Network, the Falcons have named Greg Beadles their new president after 28 years with the organization.

The previous president, Rich McKay, will remain CEO and oversee football operations.

JAN 7 FOYE OLUOKUN MAKES PLAYOFFS 

The Atlanta Falcons may not be in the playoffs this year, but a familiar face will be.

After the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans Saturday night, linebacker Foye Oluokun punched his ticket to the playoffs. He started every game for the Jaguars this season and recorded 184 tackles this season.

Oluokun played for Atlanta from 2018-21, and now makes his first playoff appearance.

JAN 5 HAMLIN AWAKE

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is no longer in a coma, awake and showing more signs of improvement, according to teammate Kaiir Elam.

Hamlin has been in the hospital since Monday night after suffering cardiac arrest in the MNF game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

JAN 3 FALCONS SIGN CB JOHN REID TO PRACTICE SQUAD

The Atlanta Falcons have signed cornerback John Reid to their practice squad ahead of a Week 18 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Reid was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft but was traded to the Seattle Seahawks after his rookie season.

The 26-year-old Reid spent 2021 with Seattle and remained there into 2022 before being waived in October ... eventually being picked up by the Falcons.

Reid was signed off Atlanta's practice squad by the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 6, but now finds himself back in the same spot after being waived by the Titans last Friday.

A former Penn State Nittany Lion, Reid will likely be given a chance to sign a future's contract this offseason and fight for a roster spot during OTAs and training camp.

JAN 3 MNF GAME SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY

The NFL released a statement Tuesday afternoon in regards to the continuation of the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game.

All Week 18 games will currently be played as scheduled.

JAN 2 MNF PAUSED AFTER SCARY FALL 

The Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals are currently suspending play after one of the scariest moments in NFL history.

Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field with 5:58 left in the first quarter.

There is no timetable for when the game will return to action.

JAN 2 BUCS VS. FALCONS TIME REVEALED

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Atlanta Falcons in the regular season finale Sunday at 1 p.m.

With a game on the east coast and no playoff implications surrounding the game, it comes as no surprise that the Falcons and Bucs play in the early window.

The Sunday Night Football matchup features the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

JAN 1 BUCCANEERS WIN NFC SOUTH

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will represent the NFC South in this year's playoffs after a 30-21 win against the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.

It's the Bucs' third consecutive NFC South title. But it hasn't come easy with Tampa only 8-8 heading into the final week of the season.

The Bucs now have nothing to play for, except for pride, when they visit the Atlanta Falcons in next week's regular season finale.

DEC 31 CARDINALS RULE OUT DEANDRE HOPKINS VS. FALCONS

The Arizona Cardinals have been plagued with injuries in recent weeks, losing their top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy, and will now also be without top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. 

A report from ESPN on Saturday confirmed that Hopkins had been downgraded to out for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. 

In nine games for the Cardinals, Hopkins has recorded 717 yards and three touchdowns on 64 receptions.

The Falcons and Cardinals are set to kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

DEC 30 CARDINALS TAB DAVID BLOUGH AS STARTER VS. FALCONS

The Arizona Cardinals have revealed their starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Veteran signal caller Colt McCoy suffered a setback in his concussion recovery and is out Sunday. Instead, David Blough will lead the Cardinals offense, earning the nod over Trace McSorley, who started Arizona's overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas Night.

Blough is the fourth starting quarterback for the Cardinals this season after Kyler Murray, McCoy and Trace McSorley, who struggled in his first NFL start on Christmas Day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This is Blough's first NFL start since 2019. He started the year in training camp with the Detroit Lions, where he has been since 2019. Then, he signed on with the Minnesota Vikings practice squad in September before the Cardinals signed him to their active roster on Dec. 14.

The Falcons and Cardinals are set to kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

DEC 27 J.J. WATT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt is hanging up his cleats.

The 12-year NFL veteran announced his retirement on social media Tuesday morning as he prepares to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Watt was drafted 11th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and played 10 seasons with the franchise before his final two years with the Cardinals.

With 111.5 sacks, Watt currently ranks 26th all-time on the all-time list, with two final chances to climb higher on the rankings.

DEC 26 BUDDA BAKER OUT VS. FALCONS

The Arizona Cardinals will travel to face the Atlanta Falcons Sunday without one of its top defensive performers. 

Budda Baker fractured his shoulder in their Christmas Day loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will miss the rest of the season, according to NFL Network.

Baker has recorded 111 tackles and two interceptions this season.

DEC 21 CHRIS LINDSTROM NAMED TO PRO BOWL

Chris Lindstrom is going to the Pro Bowl!

The fourth-year Atlanta Falcons guard has been recognized for the first time in his career as a Pro Bowl player.

While this year's Pro Bowl won't feature the traditional AFC vs. NFC game, players will participate in the "Pro Bowl Games" as a way to modernize and revamp the all-star format.

DEC 21 DEVIN DUVERNAY ON IR BEFORE FALCONS MATCHUP

The Baltimore Ravens continue to get bit by the injury bug.

According to NFL Network, Duvernay broke his foot in practice Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season, including Saturday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

This season, Duvernay has caught 37 passes for 407 yards and three touchdowns.

DEC 19 RAVENS DEFENSE WITHOUT STARTER VS. FALCONS

The Baltimore Ravens will likely be without starting cornerback Marcus Peters for Saturday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Peters sustained a "mild" calf strain in Saturday's 13-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns and "likely misses some time."

Rapoport added that Peters' absence shouldn't be long, but with a shortened week as a result of the Saturday game, odds certainly don't appear favorable for him to play.

The Falcons and Ravens will kick off at 1 p.m. inside M&T Bank Stadium.

DEC 18 PEES SENT TO HOSPITAL

Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees was involved in an on-field collision during warmups against the New Orleans Saints.

Pees was taken to a local hospital out of precaution and will not be with the team for today's game.

Linebackers coach Frank Bush will be the team's defensive play caller for the game.

Pees was released from the hospital and returned in the second half.

DEC 17 MATT RYAN, COLTS COLLAPSE IN SECOND HALF

New city, same result.

That's the case for former Atlanta Falcons and now Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, who watched his team lose a 33-0 halftime lead in Saturday's 39-36 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Vikings closed regulation on a 36-3 run before kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired in overtime, securing the biggest comeback in NFL history and bringing back haunting memories of Ryan and the Falcons' blown 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

One member of that Patriots team, receiver Julian Edelman, compared Atlanta's fall in that game to the one Indianapolis just experienced.

"How about this game? Matt Ryan is haunted," Edelman said on a Boston radio station.

Haunted? Perhaps - because this blown lead certainly isn't a Falcons issue.

DEC 14 RUSH TO COWBOYS The Dallas Cowboys are signing defensive tackle Anthony Rush to the practice squad. CowboysSI.com was the first to report the news.

Rush started the first four games for the Falcons this season before being waived. He joined the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad in November, but the team cut him last week.

Now, he joins the Cowboys as the team jockeys for playoff positioning.

DEC 13 FALCONS NEWEST FAN Quarterback Marcus Mariota is celebrating the birth of his newborn child. Mariota has been away from the team due to his wife going into labor. 

On Monday, head coach Arthur Smith confirmed that rookie signal-caller Desmond Ridder will be the starting quarterback for the Falcons on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. 

Smith also revealed that Mariota could be heading to the Injured Reserve due to a knee injury

DEC 12 SAINTS NAME DALTON STARTER The New Orleans Saints are sticking to their guns, starting Andy Dalton for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Dalton has started the last 10 games for the Saints despite Jameis Winston recovering from injury.

Unlike the Saints, the Falcons are making a quarterback change, naming Desmond Ridder as the starter for his NFL debut.

DEC 11 LAMAR SLATED TO RETURN VS. FALCONS Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is on the sidelines today nursing a knee injury that could keep him out for multiple weeks.

According to ESPN, Jackson's "most realistic" date to return is Week 16 on Christmas Eve against the Atlanta Falcons. However, there is also a "strong chance" that Jackson won't be 100 percent for that matchup and his return is likely predicated on the fact that the Ravens need to win some games to remain in the AFC playoff picture.

DEC 6 LINDSTROM NAMED WPMOY NOMINEE All 32 teams named one player to be nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. This season, that honor for Atlanta belongs to offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom.

Lindstrom, 25, had his fifth-year rookie option exercised this past offseason, making him a free agent after the 2023 season.

DEC 5 BRADY, BUCS WIN MNF Despite trailing by 13 points with three minutes to go, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 17-16 on Monday Night Football.

The win pushes the Bucs to a 6-6 record, putting them 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Falcons at 5-8. 

The Falcons are on a bye next week while the Bucs play the San Francisco 49ers.

DEC 5 BAKER CUT BY PANTHERS The Carolina Panthers are saying goodbye to quarterback Baker Mayfield after they anticipate waiving him Monday. NFL Network was the first to report the news.

Mayfield was traded to the Panthers by the Cleveland Browns in the offseason for a fifth-round pick, but struggled as Carolina's starter, going 1-5 before being replaced by P.J. Walker.

After Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending foot injury Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers could use a quarterback with Mayfield as a potential fit.

DEC 3 DEION TO COLORADO The Colorado Buffaloes have officially hired Deion Sanders as their new head coach.

Sanders has coached Jackson State for the past three seasons and went undefeated in the SWAC this year.

Sanders played for the Falcons from 1989-1993 and was an All-Pro twice in Atlanta.


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